The Tragic Story Of Lucille Ball's Son, Desi Arnaz Jr. - Grunge (2024)

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The Tragic Story Of Lucille Ball's Son, Desi Arnaz Jr. - Grunge (1)

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Lucille Ball's name surely rings a bell with anyone over the age of 30. Her hilarious sitcom "I Love Lucy" was revolutionary for its time, and our parents and grandparents passed their love for the show down to many of us. Her ex-husband, Desi Arnaz, might only be recognized as "Ricky" to many of you, but he was just as famous during his prime. Their son, Desi Arnaz Jr., might not ring a bell at all to the younger generations, but being the child of a famous couple keeps you in the spotlight.

Arnaz Jr. was an actor himself. Though, he's probably better known for his life in the headlines. He's acted in over 30 films and television shows since 1957 and even enjoyed a short music career. His first appearance happened while he was still in Lucy's womb, but that probably doesn't count. It does, however, illustrate the kind of media coverage that affected his life and tends to affect the lives of child actors in general. Let's just say he didn't have it easy.

Womanizing and early fatherhood

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"Years ago I was a playboy," Desi Arnaz Jr. admits in a 1978 interview with People magazine at the age of 25. He was under the illusion that he was "in love" since he was 13. To be fair, his womanizing was a quality he seemed to have inherited. Back in the day, Desi Arnaz Sr. was thought to be quite the womanizer himself and, as they say, the lust apple doesn't fall far from the playboy tree.

Arnaz Jr.'s womanizing got a lot of attention partly due to being in the spotlight from a young age — a symptom of having two famous parents — and partly due to the fame of the women he tantalized. We're talking big names like Patty Duke, Liza Minnelli, Kim Darby, Tina Sinatra, and the list goes on. According to Dino Martin, Arnaz Jr.'s beloved friend and son of Dean Martin, Arnaz Jr. was "in love three times a week." Arnaz Jr., as Martin says, the "lover" of their pop-rock group in the 60s when there was "no shortage of groupies."

His love for the fairer sex brought fatherhood to Arnaz Jr. at the early age of 15. Julie Arnaz's mother, Susan Howe, was a model at the time. Arnaz Jr. and Julie didn't have a relationship until she was 25 years old, and even then it was strained, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Drugs took hold of Desi Jr.

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Drugs are a common problem for people who grew up in the Hollywood spotlight, and Desi Arnaz Jr. was famous before he was born. He's definitely no exception to the rule. As Arnaz Jr. told Closer Weekly, "my whole life was in the face of the world."

Arnaz Jr. attributes his drug use to self-medicating. The actor grew up in a world where the media constantly told him who he was, and Arnaz Jr. says he didn't know who he was. So, he did what he could to stop being himself. He confessed in the interview that he was "destroying" himself because he was tired of being himself. The drug use got out of control and landed Arnaz Jr. in rehab. Both of his parents, then divorced, were affected by their son's addiction even while being beyond supportive.

Whe Arnaz Jr. went in rehab, his parents tagged along. "Both my mother and my father were invited to come with me, and they did, which was probably the most amazing thing that could have happened," Arnaz says. Let's face it, most of our parents wouldn't be that cool.

His parents' strained relationship and Desi Sr.'s drinking problem

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As we mentioned, Arnaz Jr. wasn't the only playboy in the family. Desi Arnaz Sr. couldn't keep his hands off other women while he and Lucille Ball were together. According to Closer Weekly, Lucy almost divorced Arnaz several times over it. In fact, I Love Lucy was the couple's desperate attempt to save their failing marriage. Eventually, the marriage fell through and, with it, the show. Sure, their up-and-down relationship probably hurt Desi Arnaz Jr. and his sister, and Arnaz Sr.'s drinking problem couldn't have helped.

Along with womanizing, it seems as if substance abuse ran in the Arnaz family as well. "Desi was really a great guy when he wasn't drinking," the actor for "Little Ricky" on their show, Keith Thibodeaux, tells People magazine in 1989, "but as kids we'd definitely stay away from him when he was drunk." Thibodeaux goes on to recall a string of Arnaz Sr.'s violent drunk outbursts, including a time he beat up Arnaz Jr.'s tutor and another time he fired a gun off into the air because someone was hanging out on a beach that he owned. It looks like Desi Arnaz Jr. inherited more that he asked for from his father.

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The Tragic Story Of Lucille Ball's Son, Desi Arnaz Jr. - Grunge (2024)
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